Risks of gentian violet

Written by faith davies
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Also called crystal violet and Pyoctaninum caeruleum, gentian violet is a dye made from coal tar. Despite its use to potentially fight infections and bacteria, gentian violet poses several risks to patients.

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Gentian violet is most dangerous when allowed to enter the bloodstream, such as when taken orally or used to treat broken skin.

Types of Side Effects

Possible side effects of gentian violet include stomach pain, stomachaches, diarrhoea, vomiting, mouth ulcers and skin blisters.


In addition to adverse health effects, topical gentian violet has the potential to permanently stain your skin.


Despite an article to the contrary published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology by Jack Arbiser, many doctors believe that gentian violet poses a risk for cancer, according to the Physician's Desktop Reference.


Some patients develop life-threatening allergic reactions to gentian violet, causing shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, skin hives and even anaphylactic shock.


If you are pregnant or nursing or have a medical history of porphyria, hypertension or heart disease, avoid taking gentian violet due to its possible side effects.

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